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A Better Partnership
July 30, 2015

COA: Parolees are not immune from prosecution for prison escape under MCL 750.193

In People v. McKerchie, No. 321073, the Michigan Court of Appeals clarified that a defendant who escapes from a facility, where he was placed as a condition of his parole, can be found guilty of both a parole violation and a separate charge of prison escape under MCL 750.193.   In reaching this conclusion, the Court held that MCL 750.193(3) does not provide parolees with immunity from prosecution for prison escape.  Rather, the statute simply requires the prosecutor to prove all elements of the crime (prison escape), instead of merely relying on the parole violation as the sole basis for prosecution under MCL 750.193.

The defendant was bound over on the charge of prison escape, MCL 750.193. The last sentence of MCL 750.193(3) states: “A person violating the conditions of parole is not an escapee under this act.” The trial court held that McKerchie’s escape from the Lake Facility could not constitute a violation of MCL 750.193, reasoning that it could not “get away from the language of the statute and the strict reading of it.” Accordingly, it reversed the bind over and dismissed the charge of prison escape. The Attorney General appealed by right, see MCL 770.12(1).

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, reasoning that a person on parole can be an “escapee” and that an act that constitutes a violation of condition of parole can also constitute a violation of MCL 750.193. For purposes of MCL 750.193, a person escapes when the person has acted to remove himself or herself from the imposed restraint on his or her person and volition. According to the Court, it is evident that the Legislature did not intend to provide persons who violate their parole with immunity from prosecution under MCL 750.193. Rather, it intended to preclude the prosecutor from relying on a violation of a condition of parole as the sole basis for a prosecution under MCL 750.193.

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